Anyone else dealing with unknown allergies / a very restricted diet?

Michelle - posted on 02/04/2012 ( 5 moms have responded )

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My baby (4 months) started to have blood in her stools around 2 months, and her stools became mucus-y (green, lots of mucus). We were fairly certain that my 3.5 year old has Celiac Disease. She had the exact same symptoms as a baby, but it took us about 14 months to get her well. Anyway, back to baby: So immediately, I touched base with our Ped, and we agreed that I should eliminate gluten from my diet (and of course, she referred us to our old pal, the pediatric GI). The blood eased up considerably, but didn't completely go away. The Pediatric GI wanted me to also go off of dairy and soy since there were still traces of blood in her stools. (Also, she was prescribed Axid for reflux). I have done that, and we haven't seen blood since (except once when I ate a contaminate by mistake). However, her stools are still NOT AT ALL NORMAL! They are always very mucus-y, not seedy at all. They are usually green, but right now they are much more yellow. I have tried eliminating eggs, nuts, berries, beef, and pork as well, and I just feel like I am spinning my wheels! Is there anyone else out there in the same boat? The specialist says that the blood is much more worrisome than the mucus, and as long as we are free of blood, not to worry about the mucus so much. BUT…..I am terrified that she will start to have worse problems and lose weight. That is what happened with my older daughter. When I stopped breastfeeding her and removed gluten from her diet, she was suddenly fine! Since Celiac Disease runs in my husband's family, and all the symptoms seemed to fit the Celiac mold, we assumed that she has CD. But NOW, since my baby's symptoms don't seems to be completely resolved, I am wondering if I was off-base with the assumption of CD in my older daughter. (Her biopsy was inconclusive.) It's crazy! I am spending SO much time in the kitchen, making 3 meals a day from scratch, and I feel like my milk still contains something that is bothering her little gut. I'm just wondering if there's anyone out there that is dealing with (or has dealt with) similar issues. What are you finding out as you go along?

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Sally - posted on 02/06/2012

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We didn't have it quite as badly as you did. We didn't have blood; just green mucus, constant gassy tummyaches, projectile vomit, and scary eczema. She also didn't want to eat because it made her tummy hurt. If I had realized which behaviors were the important ones to tell the doctor instead of just assuming she was a fussy baby with sensitive skin we could have started fixing it at 2 months instead of 4. She's two now and still has the eczema (though not as badly), but the digestive issues have mostly gone away.

The most accurate way to test for food allergies and sensitivities is an elimnation diet. (My daughters allergist even puts a lot more value on how she reacts to what I feed her than on what his tests say.) . Keep away from the things you already know hurt her, but for everything else--Make a list of things you think are bothering her and of common allergens; choose one food; don't eat it (in any form--some of the common allergens hide under lots of names and if an ingredient is "derived from" an allergen or the allergen is "used in production", but then removed--it will probably not be on the label AND "natural flavors" can hide a multitude of sins--often even the people who make the food don't know what all is hiding under that one) for one month; see if the baby gets better; put the food back into your diet for two weeks; see if the baby gets worse. You now have your answer on that food; repeat with the next one. It took us 1 1/2 years to get a list of dairy, eggs, peanuts, wheat, corn, berries, citrus, pineapple, chocolate, something in curry powder (it's a blend and we haven't tested all the individuals yet), at least some artificial colors and flavors (it's easier to avoid all of them than to test individuals), and petroleum products. Blood and skin tests when she was old enough also gave us dogs and dust mites.

Please DO NOT stop nursing her. Even if you are consuming things she's allergic or sensitive to, your milk will do far more to heal her gut than to hurt it. Our allergist has pushed me to breastfeed my daughter for as long as she is willing because it is the absolute best thing a mom can do to heal a messed up digestive tract. (I believe in child led weaning anyway, but it was nice to have his opinion.) You will have to be on her diet until she weans, but would you really be eating things that make your kid sick anyway?

It can be hard to cook to a special diet, but it gets easier with practice. The first 6 months were an absolute nightmare, but now I don't spend much more cooking time than I did pre-allergy baby. The good thing about the allergy epidemic is that the internet is full of recipes for substitue foods. You can cut kitchen time by making double or triple batches when you cook and preserving the extra for later.

I'm sending you some virtual hugs. Good luck. May you and your baby feel better soon.

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Linda - posted on 02/08/2012

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My baby is also allergic to milk and soy. I went on a dairy and soy free diet when he was 2 months old. It was really really hard. I love to eat and I found this diet completely eliminated a lot of foods, and eating out in the restaurants. After two months of this diet, alot of symptoms resided but he still had mucus in stool. Pediatrician told me it could take at least one month of this crazy diet to see change. For my baby it took about 4 months of this stupid diet for the mucos in his stool to go away. I am not sure if u tried this already but I had to switch brands of multivitamins (materna) because the coating around it contained gelatin( bovine base I believe)). So baby is now 9 months and much better and I'm still breastfeeding and still on diet. Hang in there. You are not alone. Just keep in close contact with ur ped.

Lori - posted on 02/06/2012

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There's a group here on Circle of Mom's called "Kids with food Allergies" You might want to post there as well. Have you considered Citric Acid as an allergen? I've been trying to determine what's causing my daughter to vomit occasionally, and one of the first things the Dr suggested was looking at the preservatives in the food she's eating. I think we're coming back around to it's just a simple milk protein sensitivity. The amount she was getting before she turned 1 wasn't enough to cause major symptoms for her, but now that she's over 1 and eating yogurt and getting her own cup of whole cow milk on occasion it's becoming a problem for her. Anyhow - I know you said you're already off dairy, gluten, and soy. And it is soooo frustrating to not know what's causing your LO to be sick. And if you're making every meal from scratch, then it probably isn't a preservative... but if you're buying canned foods Citric Acid is added to a lot of those.

Tania - posted on 02/06/2012

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Hi Michelle,



Have your tried eliminating dairy? Mainly milk? Try switching to grain products with no gluten? If not give it a try. Wheat may also be a problem. Makeup sure you are taking a capsuled calcium magnesium supplement if you are going to cut milk, or switch to fortified rice or soy milk.



Let me know how things go.

Tania

Terra - posted on 02/05/2012

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I haven't dealt with it personally but I know quite a few mama's that have. It's possible that her GI tract is still trying to heal from being exposed to the allergens. Would it be possible for you to give her probiotics to help heal her gut? I know they make them in a dairy free base but I'm not at all sure about the gluten.



Have you done any searching on the internet for a site for Moms with children with allergies? You may be able to find more specific help in a place like that.



I really hope that you are able to get this resolved for your precious baby and for your own sanity.

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